Sunday, October 31, 2010

A missing camera and a reading assignment

Happy Halloween y'all.  I have pictures of all our halloween fun this weekend, lots of pictures, problem is my hubby has gone off and stolen my camera, that for some reason he thinks is "our" camera.  I'm not sure where he got that idea, after all I am the one with the blog, he only needed it for his paying job.

So I will get you those pictures soon, in the mean time head over to Stuff Christians Like, my friend introduced me to this blog that is just too funny.  This one, Praying for things you shouldn't, is great.  In case you're wondering I have the "spirited" children and have often been tempted to pray these same things for a few of my smug friends :).

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Sweetest words

It was that time of year, so the words came in in abundance.  Some written by hand, others typed on keyboard and sent magically straight to me.  Words to wish well, words of pride and love, words to tell me who I am.

And I read them fast, like one eats a candy bar, I took them in quickly, ravenously, barely tasting their goodness, just wanting to know what they said, just wanting to fly on the high of the sweet, sweet words, and float awhile.

I took them out again, later, when the world was quiet, the sugar high had gone and I longed for the sustenance of those words, to read again, who they see when they look at me.  I took them in one by one, swallowed the words whole.

They fell into the cracks, and were smoothed over, making those deep places whole again.  When they see me they see a woman that they are proud of, they see accomplishments, they see the one who makes our family work, and the one who does the hard jobs.

How is it that I always miss those qualities, I see only the mistakes, the setbacks, and the failures.  I feed myself bitter words of how I've failed again and how far I have to go.  But right now I have proof, whole words, to tell me another story.

I will allow them to sit with me this time.  I will fully digest them, till they are known, I will write them in nooks as reminders.  I am a woman, who makes the people around her feel loved, feel proud to call me theirs, who makes it all work and I am a woman who fails, who messes up, and who sometimes falls flat on her face.  The setbacks don't change who I am, they know those things too, and still they chose those sweet words.

And I wonder what words He would use to describe me, and know down deep, that they would be the sweetest words.  Know that if I will take the time to listen, He would speak words that would fill me completely, where no room would remain for the bitterness.  This year I will try, I will work, to see myself through their eyes, through His eyes, to give myself credit, that when I fall I get back up and try again.  Credit that in my deepest place I am trying, to live this life for Christ alone, I am trying to live this life to someday hear, well done good and faithful servant.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Researching chocolate

God has begun taking me down a road to honoring Him in all areas of my life, including the things I spend my money on.  It's a new journey for me and so I'm just learning, but this post, over at Rage Against the Minivan, on the chocolate most of us buy in the United States is so helpful to me, this is what I'm trying to change, spending my money on products that promote things God hates, like child slavery.

Please take the time to read this information and you never know you just might find yourself on that same journey, we can learn together, but let me tell you there is a lot to learn.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

How He loves

I'm just going to level with y'all, I've got me some post-baby assignment blues.  Oh yes, that's a real thing, trust me.  The time between when you've been handed a picture of your baby and when you're allowed to bring your baby home is the suckiest part of adoption.  You can quote me on that.

I went back and read through my posts during this time in 2008 just to make sure I felt this way last time (I did) and then I went and read my agency's guidebook to make sure they say you'll fee this way (they do).  So I guess that makes me feel a little better, I may be sad, but I'm supposed to be sad, so there's that.

Adoption is such a time of learning about yourself and about your relationship with God.  For me it is one of the fires that God has asked me to walk through in order to refine me, so I keep praying that I walk through it well, that I don't come out of this unchanged.  It hurts, God, please don't let the hurt go to waste, if I'm going to hurt, please use it to make me more like You.

I was talking to a friend of mine the other day and I had one of those revelations, when you say something out loud and realize that you have just stated a deep truth that you were not conscious of until that moment.

I told her that I had been from the beginning preparing myself that this adoption was going to be different from Jack's adoption, that no two adoptions are the same.  But I never considered that this adoption was going to be different in positive ways, that it would be faster (not slower), that we would get a girl (a miracle), that she would have no medical needs (not lots).  I realized that this stems from one of the lies I believe about God, that I can't fully trust Him, that I need to be on watch for the bad things coming my way.  I do not fully or maybe even partly understand the way God loves me.

I haven't made much progress since my revelation because here I sit, sure that God is not going to bring Chloe home by Christmas, that it's going to take forever and that I'm not going to be able to handle all that waiting.

The good news is, my perception of God, the lies I believe, are just that, and it will never change who He really is.  He's teaching me right now, who He really is, the ways He really loves, the all consuming power that belongs to Him alone, and the trust that He has earned.  And I'm learning, really slowly, but I'm learning.  When I look back on this adoption, on this time of waiting, I will see that through the fire I learned one of the most important lessons of my life, how He loves.

"So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God."  -The Bible, Ephesians 3:17-19

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Parenthood

Have y'all seen the show "Parenthood"?  I am in love with that show like I can't believe.  I think I love it as much as I loved "My so called Life", back in the day, ok probably not that much, but I love it.

Parenthood because it protrays the lifes of four siblings and their individual families, and the families are like our families, they have real issues, but they really love each other, and work hard to stay together.  They deal with raising a child with special needs (Asperger's syndrome) in a way that is beautiful, they show the ups and downs and how hard it is on the parents.  They deal with balancing work and family and with balancing your immediate family with your extended family.  Every week I think it makes me cry at least once, but in a good, happy way.  I find it so refreshing to watch a show on TV that I can relate to, that's about my life.

If you haven't seen it, you've got to give it a try, and if you don't like it that's ok, we're allowed to disagree, but I think many of you will.  It comes on, on NBC on Tuesday evenings after Biggest Loser.  If you want to catch up on shows you've missed, you can always watch them on hulu.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The money statement

Let me just be up front with you for a minute, adoption, can be expensive.  This is not news to me, I have written the checks for two adoptions so I don't doubt this information.  What I do doubt is this, that this fact, is the real deal breaker for so many people.

If I had to rank the most heard expression when someone finds out I have adopted, it would be a tie between, "why is it so hard to adopt, I mean there are all these children who need homes, why do they make the process so difficult" and "why is adoption so expensive, I mean there are all these children who need homes, why do they make it so expensive?"

Occasionally it is not a question but a statement, and when this is the case it is almost always the money statement.  "Adoption is so expensive, I do not understand why they make it impossible for people to help these children, but nobody can afford that kind of money!" When I look into their eyes, it's as if as they make their statement, they are locking another deadbolt, patting themselves on the back, for a door they slammed long ago.

This is when I usually begin to bite my tongue, I'm passionate about adoption, but nobody ever won over any converts to their way of thinking by yelling at them, YOU'RE WRONG! so I resist that urge.  It is also where I begin to wonder, one, if it hasn't dawned on them that I'm sitting right there, can hear everything they're saying and have actually adopted and, two, what experience in their past made them have such a strong reaction to adoption.

What I try to say, without much success so far, is that's not true!  First, adoption doesn't have to be expensive there are varying degrees of money required to adopt, ranging from almost nothing to more than I could fathom (if say you're Bragelina and want to adopt a baby in a few weeks).

But it can cost a chunk of money, and this is where I get upset, so bear with me.  The most expensive international adoptions are within the reach of everyone who has ever slammed that door in my face.  I am not saying it is within the reach of every person, but this is America it is within the reach for many of us.

Have you ever bought a new car, bought a house, paid for a college education, then you can afford adoption.  I'm not saying that it will be easy, you may have to work some extra hours, cut out all the fat in your budget, borrow money, or apply for grants (yes there really is organizations that will help you afford adoption), all things people do all the time to afford another thing.

But in the end you are not left with something that loses half it's value the second you drive it off the lot, or something that loses it's shine two weeks later, you are left with your child, with a family.

This is what I know, everyone of you with children would never let money stand in the way of their health, their safety, or their presence with you, it's exactly the same for those of us who have adopted.  We are not some high class society, who can write a check for ten grand the way some do for ten dollars.  But we are a group of people who love our children, people who won't let anything stand in the way of bringing them home, not a year without pedicures, not canceling our iphone, not selling our house and buying something smaller.  And if you really felt that passion about the hundreds of millions of children in need of a family, why not open that door back up, undo all those locks, and see what role God has for you.  God will never let money stop you from the path He has from you and neither should you.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Kylynn


There are times in the morning, when I get up early enough to catch her fresh out of bed, that I can see it, just for a moment.  Or when she drinks from a sippy cup, her blue eyes look rounder, her cheeks chunkier, and I remember.  She once was a baby, is still my baby, but never again will she be mine the way she was then.

Yesterday, she asked me how old she was when she came home to me, adoption is all she knows, she wondered did she come home at 6 months, 9 months, when.  And it made me happy her world view, she is and will be passionate about her God, she is and will be passionate about adoption.  And sometimes I'm sure that  no one is listening to anything I have to say or caring at all about the millions and how our God said, take care of them, but then I see that she is, she's listening and she's watching and she cares.

I pray big things for her, not specific things, just that she will do better than I have.  That she will let God mark her path from the begining and will follow no matter where He might lead.  One day as I prayed for her, I had a vision of her as adult being His hands and His feet and I wondered, what it might be.

But for now she is four and four is so much bigger than it sounds, it's old enough to say, Mommy, you know, I know that santa and the tooth fairy are not really real.  It's big enough to dream and to pray, "in your heavenly name" something she learned along the way.

And soon, I won't be able to find her baby face, she will just be Kylynn,  a girl, then a woman, with her passions and dreams and goals.  And I will not be sad, I will be expectant and hopeful, I will wonder who she will become and I will pray that in the end, when she's no longer mine (she was never mine) she will want me still.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Running the race

Did I tell y'all I started running a few (5 to be exact) weeks ago.  Did I tell y'all that I am no runner, no seriously I mean I have never ran more than a quarter mile, in school when they would make us run, I would walk and take the loss of points, because I was certain that if I ran I would die.  After all, everytime I tried to run even a little bit I felt like I was going to die.

And yet I've always had this dream of being a runner, it's the cheapest form of exercise out there, just put on your shoes and your good to go, no special equipment, no special place needed.  So when a friend of mine said that she was doing the couch to 5k program with a friend, I invited myself along.

And here's the part where I brag and I don't like to brag, but it's essential to the story, without it I'm just a girl who can't run who dreamed of running.  So here it comes, this program, this couch to 5k program, it really works y'all.  I ran 20 minutes straight a week ago, and 25 minutes straight this last Saturday, and get this: I didn't die.

There are a few hitches.  Hitch #1: I have gained weight since beginning this program, apparently running makes me hungry and I am not eating the way I should be.  Hitch #2: I can't always finish the running assignment for that day, like this morning I was supposed to run 25 minutes again, and I made to 15 before realizing that it just wasn't in me today.

But you know what, it's okay.  You realize on the days you fail, that you always have next time to try again, and by golly I, who used to hyperventilate just thinking about running a 100 yards, ran 25 minutes, so try again I will!  Most of the time it still seems like I'm making this whole running thing up (after all I do run early in the morning before the sun come up, it could be a dream).  But on the days I run, it's very real, I finish the workout and I think to myself, you did it, you just did that.  And suddenly a confidence that I either lost a long time ago or I may have never possessed is with me and it feels so good.  Good enough to not care about the 5 pounds or the days when I can't quite make it.

I see myself in a new light these days, like maybe I am strong enough for whatever this life has for me.  Sometimes when I feel anxious about something, I remind myself that I can run for over 20 minutes and for whatever reason it helps, it reminds me that my mind is lying to me, that actually I am strong enough.

Running is a great analogy for life, for the Christian walk, for the adoption process even.  I commit myself to the goal set before me, and pursue it, and when I fall down, I get up and start again.  And though it is hard and sometimes painful, there is waiting at the end great reward.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

My life in pictures

 I have learned the following lessons from her: make sure not a single piece of clothing matches another piece, several patterns are always better than one, and the more you layer the more outrageous your outfit becomes.

Jack is now requesting pictures taken in settings of his choosing.  This was one that needed to include both blanket and doggy, it also happened to contain his beautiful eye lashes, so everyone was happy.

My baby boy, smiling, in feety pajamas, doesn't get any cuter than that.

Y'all, how is it that I knew when I requested Kyle take this picture that it was for my blog and yet I forgot to take off my helmet, giving you yet another very unflattering picture of me.  This is how we've been able to continue our bike rides as a family since Kylynn outgrew the trailer.  Kyle has the trailer attached to his bike with Jack in it.

Yes, I believe in putting my children to work, the day she learns how to dust will be the happiest day of my life.

"Cooking" with noodles and beans, one of their favorite activities that keeps them both happy for longer than about anything else I've tried.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Unwrapping a gift

October has been a gift.

Everyday, around each corner another package for me to unwrap and see what's inside.

7 packages containing the most perfect weather you ever did see.  Each one wrapped up in a blue sky the exact color of my love's eyes.

The gift of digging out a light sweater or two, of feeling it on your skin, making the cold as delicious as any chocolate I've ever tasted.

A long talk on the phone with a friend that made me see her anew, that gave me such hope for the type of people I long to surround my children with.  A talk that reflected back like a mirror my passions and dreams.

A bike ride or two, being wrapped around and above and below in a perfect day.  Feeling the wind on my face as we go down a hill and letting go, singing at the top of my lungs of my Father God.

Making a fall all my own, around my door, in my rooms, to remind me of the beauty I left long ago, leafs in all their splendor, red, orange, gold, never losing their affect on me, year after year, that beauty is a gift He's given us.

Feety pajamas on little feet, the way they sound plodding down the stairs, they way they turn my children back into babies, for just a moment, how they scream out to me, come cuddle up on the couch with me mama and let's pass the time in a way that matters.

A garden that is not worn out by sun and heat, producing abundantly, a bell pepper there, a cucumber here, butternut squash to last the whole year through, and the promise of homemade salsa soon.

A day at the park, a sudden plan, leaving behind to-do lists and worries.  Spending hours on the playground and then just when I think I should have brought a picnic because it's too beautiful to go home and eat, a "gourmet" to-go food truck is there to feed us and provide us with a memory, an adventure.

Each day a gift, a love story written out to me, you are My child and you are precious in My sight.

Can you see it?  He speaks in your own language, whispering I am here and you,  you are loved.